A number of Malta’s business leaders have taken to social media to express their discontent at the increasingly pertinent issues of overdevelopment, traffic congestion, and overpopulation that the country is facing.
The aforementioned issues have dominated headlines over recent years, particularly Malta’s rapidly increasing population, with Minister for Finance and Employment Clyde Caruana recently stating that the country’s population will need to grow by 55 per cent to 800,000 in the next 17 years to maintain Malta’s current economic growth rate.
Overpopulation has also prompted overdevelopment, together with traffic congestion, the latter of which has also been brought to light by various CEOs.
Posting on Sunday, Farsons Group CEO Norman Aquilina questioned whether policymakers are “really listening to the growing public chorus” about these issues.
He added: “I would like to think that our policymakers are neither alien nor intransigent to these overgrowing concerns, so are they simply stuck in front of the drawing board or what?”
He remarked that some of the issues at hand are “more complex than meets the eye”, yet they still need to be addressed. “The real ‘over’ we need at this moment is that of us collectively heading into overdrive to find effective solutions to all these overgrowing concerns,” Mr Aquilina concluded.
His post sparked a debate in the comments section, with various business leaders voicing their opinions on the situation.
iMovo Limited Managing Director Pierre Mallia remarked that there is “no economic vision, just an unsubstantiated belief that construction is what drives the economy”.
“This is systematically eroding other key economic pillars such as tourism, and it’s driving quite a few Maltese abroad, resulting in a brain drain. Not to mention the erosion of quality of life we are suffering,” he continued.
Agreeing with Mr Mallia, NOUV Founding Partner and Chief Visionary Officer Mark A. Aquilina said that the economic vision that is in place is “short term revolving around making a quick buck”.
“I believe the damage has been done. I am afraid that hope is being killed slowly”, he said, before adding that Malta has become “the land of confusion”.
RS2 Software plc Chief Administrative and Operations Officer Marlene Attard was in agreement, noting that for companies operating in Malta, “the strategic plan needs to be clear so that companies’ growth plans are achievable”.
EuroBridge CEO Robert Cassar opted to outline some “low-hanging fruit” that Malta can reach easily. He suggested that “reasonable hybrid work and lecturing” need to be promoted, while certain Government services can instead be offered during off peak hours, as is the case with Mater Dei Hospital’s 24/7 appointments.
Mr Cassar added that in his field of work, logistics, the private sector needs to be enticed through “more modern legislation”, so that it is encouraged to “invest in third-party logistics solutions promoting less delivery vehicles in our roads”.
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